Is Digital Saturation Possible?
posted by Stuart Cumming ~ 29/10/14
Category: Marketing

Seemingly unstoppable, digital marches on and bricks and mortar crumble in its path. Wait on, that's a myth!

Predictions are usually based on trends and while the data seemed to be indicating B&M's demise, many of the conclusions have been based on percentage growth.

As we all know, percentages are great for headlines. But "30% rise" is nothing more than an indicator to be monitored if you are working off a low base.

Predictions can fall well short when trends gets disrupted by changes in technology or consumers just decide they've reached saturation point.

This seems to be the evidence that Steve Smith has found in his article "Omni-Channel Behaviors May Ebb & Flow" in  "Cross-Channel," the new service from MediaPost.

consumers have always been omni-channel for as long as there's been shopping and marketing
He makes the point that consumers have always been omni-channel for as long as there's been shopping and marketing - word of mouth, circulars (US speak for retail traffic driving catalogues), reputation, just to name a few.

Digital has been a huge game changer for sure and behavior has been changed forever. But what we found really interesting is that it appears that some of these trends are actually reversible. 

A case in point relates to sectors where omni-channel activity is well established. While 65% of consumers purchasing in the electronics market used more than one channel, this was down 5% on the previous year. With apparel, the drop was 3%.

That's not to say there won't be growth, with automotive and home being standout. But other areas such as lawn and garden have less than 1/3 of their consumers looking to multiple online and offline sources for their information.

In addition "showrooming," the instore browsing of mobile devices,  which had seen an increase from 22 to 37% from 2012 to 2013, actually fell back to 28% from 2013 to 2014.

But the whole point, as Smith says, is that "behaviours are still evolving"; don't bet the house on something that isn't a "cert" just yet.

To read the complete article click here. On the basis of what we've seen from the initial articles in this new service, if this is relevant to you (and if you are reading this you've probably self-selected!) we'd recommend you subscribe.

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